As a special treat today, Contessa At the Crossroads is proud to welcome cover artist Alexandra Shostack to the blog for an interview!
Alexandra Shostak is a writer of dark and fantastical things, mostly meant for teenagers. She is also a freelance book cover designer, a guitar player, and the person who can get you through the zombie apocalypse without getting bitten.If you’re especially worried about the zombie apocalypse, you can find her in one of these places:www.yaconfidential.com or on Twitter as @a_shostak
Below is some of Alexandra's fantastic work! I am such a lover of the Graspoing at Eternity and Taking Back Forever Covers. Oh, and a little secret, those are Alexandra's boots in the cover to Taking Back Forever!
So, let's hear what Alexandra had to say in response to our questions! Welcome to the blog!
Alexandra, tell us a little about yourself and your training as an artist.
I’m in my 20s, a writer, a Florida resident, and a cat person. My training as an artist is mostly self-taught; my degree is actually in English. But I’ve always loved to draw, and over the course of my life I’ve taken all kinds of different art classes, mostly for fun. I first got into Photoshop when I was 16, and have been extensively teaching myself the program ever since.
How did you get into the business of creating covers?
If it weren’t for my friend, author Karen Amanda Hooper, I wouldn’t be in the business at all! Her first book, TANGLED TIDES, came out in November of 2011 from Rhemalda Publishing. They were looking for images to put inside the book, but couldn’t find anything online they liked. So I drew this hilariously rough picture for Karen of a possibility for one of the images. She loved it, and eight hours later, we had five images for the interior of TANGLED TIDES. After that, when she was ready to publish her second book, GRASPING AT ETERNITY, she asked me to do the cover. I received such positive feedback about that cover that I decided to try my hand at actually doing more of them.
Did you always want to be a cover artist?
When I was younger, I wanted to be a cat, so my career goals have never been particularly practical!
Why do you think authors want to use your designs?
Because I try to make my designs unique and different from everything else out there (as much as that’s possible given how many books with amazing covers are published every month!)
Where do you design inspiration for covers come from?
Everywhere! I know that’s a cliché, and a lot of creative types say that inspiration comes from “life itself” but it’s true—anything I see on a daily basis has the potential to inspire me. Colors, people, images, reflections, even songs or sounds.
Do you have a favorite cover? Can you show it to us?
I love the cover for BURN BRIGHT by Marianne de Pierres—it’s so gorgeous that I tracked down the book from Australia (it’s not available in the US). (Doesn’t hurt that BURN BRIGHT is an amazing book, too!) The artwork is by an artist named Jarosław Kubicki (http://www.kubicki.info/) and I love his work.
When designing a cover, who is your intended audience?
My intended audience is the reader—whatever kind of reader the author wants to attract for her book.
Do you have a favorite cover designer, one that has inspired you, perhaps?
I’ve loved Mary GrandPre’s illustrations for the USA Harry Potter books since I was little!
When creating a cover, do you read the author's work first to get a feel or do they just give your information and you go with it?
It depends who I’m working for, but generally I get relevant information and an idea of what the author (or editor) envisions and create something from there.
What are you working on now?
Several things for Entangled at the moment!
Please tell us where we can find you and your work: www.coversbyalexandra.com
Thanks so much for stopping by today, Alexandra! It's been great having you here with us!